The young Red Devils are here for this week’s fourth annual Jersey Football Tournament in which they will play Benfica, Boca Juniors and Celtic at Springfield.The players and their coach, former United star and Scotland international Brian McClair, are relishing the opportunity to play such illustrious opposition.In particular, he and his young charges are eager to line up against Argentinean outfit Boca, who are the first South Americans to enter the tournament.’We’re all looking forward to it – it’s very rare we get an opportunity like this,’ said McClair.
‘We were in a tournament in Switzerland at Easter and played River Plate – it was fantastic and that to us is a benefit all the time.’Our main criteria when we’re looking at invitations is the quality of the opposition and last year and this year is top draw.
The facilities are more than ideal and the organisation is very good.
All these factors are important and Jersey more than fulfils that criteria.’McClair is confident his squad can perform – they’ve played a lot of games and they are in good form, he says – but winning the tournament is not the most important target of the week.’They’ve had a good pre-season.
We’ve played a lot of games and we’ve got good form and this gives them a chance to play against different opposition,’ he said.
‘This is all part of our training.
We’re here to work hard and I’m expecting them to work hard during the games.We’re not looking to win necessarily but a good exercise looking to go into the reserves and U19 season.’They’re looking forward to it – they’d rather be away in Jersey than stuck in Manchester.’This year sees a change in format for the tournament.
Whereas is previous years their have been two groups of three teams and a final, this year there are only four.
For the clubs this means they are guaranteed three games.’The change in the format means we know exactly who we’re playing and when so we can prepare for the games.
Celtic last year were in the situation where Barcelona were in the tournament but the draw meant they couldn’t play them,’ said McClair.’This year they’ve changed it round.
It will be interesting to see and we’ll have to have a look and see if it works when it’s all finished.’